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  • Playground

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Playground Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://playgrounddtsa.com
  • Phone: (714) 560-4444
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner: Tuesday - Wednesday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Thursday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 2:00am
    Sunday Brunch: 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian, Contemporary American, Gastro Pub
  • Executive Chef: Jason Quinn
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Spurgeon
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: City managed parking lots are located one block north and south on Spurgeon Street; street parking available on Fourth Street (free after 8:00 p.m.)
A word from Playground
The Playground is a chef driven small-plates restaurant that highlights the freshest and most exciting available ingredients in dishes inspired by great culinary traditions all over the world. The menu changes daily based on available ingredients and the chefs’ whims. The optimal party size is between 4 and 6, so that everyone can sample a number of dishes. We're not the kind of restaurant where you should expect to order your own dish (plan to share,) to think in terms of starters and mains (who made those rules anyway?), or to customize your order. Each plate has been crafted by the chefs in the way they believe best highlights the ingredients. Modifying an element would change the dish into something we don't believe in, and we're not going to serve you anything we don't believe is the best we can do.

Please note that we allow two hours for all reservations. If you would like more time please give us a call and we can see if we can accommodate you.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerCalifornian
Diner Reviews
  • "Too many shortcomings -- despite very friendly staff -- to warrant another visit: Extremely uncomfortable wooden chairs (think Starbucks minus comfy sofas) with most indoor seating at bar-stool level (facing the street a la Starbucks); annoyingly obtuse daily menu that requires in-depth explanations; heavy-handedness in many dishes -- too many peanuts and too many big chunks of raw onion in Thai lettuce wraps, too much vinegar in tomato "poke." Final insult: signature medium rare (your only "option") burgers that arrived absolutely RAW on inside."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "Every dish ordered was unique and tasted incredible.. Service is wonderful.."
    Dined on 8/13/2014
  • "Really enjoyed the creativity, service and overall experience. The food creativity was a perfect 5, the execution was certainly a 5, but the food taste lacked a little bit. Not that I was disappointed, but I really wish the flavors matched everything else. If it did, I would have certainly given 5 stars all the way across! Great job!!!"
    Dined on 8/12/2014
  • "I Love this restaurant it has a great vibe. Make reservations ahead of time or you won't get in. I have never been dissappointed with the food or the service. It is reasonably priced and great to share with groups."
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "Excellent food, great staff, very friendly and collegial. A favorite of our!"
    Dined on 8/7/2014
  • "Food is heavenly. Flavors are one-of-a-kind and absolutely delicious. Service is impeccable. Unpretentious, friendly staff that are game for making your dinner a wonderful experience. Love this place. Top restaurant in OC."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "The food here surprises the taste buds with interesting flavors and textures. Lots of chefs nowadays try to cook with different ingredients that sound interesting on the menu but don't actually "come together" like the food that Jason Quinn creates. Consistently impresses me. Ask the server for their recommendation. They are very well versed on the food and the craft beer!"
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "Incredible combination of flavors in every dish from salads to deserts"
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "Everything about this place is top notch with style. Real hip n all with real employees that can be who they want to be. That shows a lot about management allowing their own to be their own boss which translates to empowering employees to be contributors. This was the first thing I've noticed which made it easier to wait for the dishes, which are exceptional. The only qualms I had with the place is the loud atmosphere. The seating arrangements of this place is more social. So if you don't ask they will place you in between a mixed table with several other parties. This with the combinationof loud music and loud affluent big mouths, will require you to scream out your conversation to the guest and others that are sitting right across from u."
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "The food here is wonderful. The wait staff was knowledgeable and excited to make sure everything was great. A place dedicated to fresh food and great flavors. We loved the fried chicken, and the if you dont like it we comp it policy. There was also an element of humor in the menu, attention to detail and dedication to playfulness. Quite an unusual location for such a place. Can't wait to go back!"
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "Two of our group of six are on a restricted diet. I don't know how many, if any, vegan dishes are normally on the menu but the chef called a few days ahead to clarify our restrictions and the menu had wonderful selections for all of us. Thank you so much! Food and service were stellar."
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "The four of us ate "Tapas Style" and we each ordered something different on the menu and all shared. We even asked or waiter to also choose a "Wild Card" item that we have not ordered. We all enjoyed and the food was even better - Love that the food comes as it is prepared and ready to be served as fresh as possible."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • " The menu offerings are totally unusual and delicious. This is a very technical and modern dining experience. They take great care with every possible detail, from the selection of the ingredients to the presentation of each dish. The cocktails were as good or better than any I've had at mixology places and the wines by the glass offerings were really well curated. Dining there is a real treat and should not be missed."
    Dined on 7/29/2014
  • "This is the best meal you will ever eat with a paper napkin. It was absolutely spectacular. Everything we ordered was incredible. Among the best meals I have ever had and without question, the best one that didn't come with a buttoned up waiter and formalities typically associated with a fine dining restaurant. This is absolutely fine dining quality food in a casual and comfortable environment."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Service was excellent, food was incredible and everyone was very knowledgeable and friendly."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Uncle Lous Fried Chicken, Pork Chop, Steamed Buns, Sticky Toffee pudding, all standards for every visit. The Fried Avocados and Mushrooms played a very active supporting role. Expectations exceeded."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Everything we had was great! The desserts were creative and delicious. Wow!"
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "Heard great comments from a friend about this restaurant and it did not disappoint. Both cocktails and small plates were well thought out with unusual flavor combinations and creative preparation and presentation. Loved the high quality dining in a totally unpretentious atmosphere. Already planning our next visit."
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "This is my 4th time here and 2nd time this year for my birthday and my best friend's birthday. Love, love, love everything about The Playground. The food is superb and the service is outstanding. Both Anastasia and Adam were friendly and attentive and Keith as well."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "Great food and service. My only wish it that they used cloth napkins and tablecloths."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Simply put, the playground makes dynamic and delicious plates of food! I only wish there was more of it on the plate. It is easily one of my (and my girlfriend's) favorite restaurants to visit."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "This was our second time in just 2 weeks going to The Playground. We came with friends this time(their 1st time). We each brought a bottle of wine since there is no corkage fee which is fantastic. We had their cauliflower starter...amazing! We had their pasta dish which also had cauliflower in it and we all loved it. The rest of my party had the burger not on the menu. They had fried chicken and pork buns. Every single thing we ordered was just so delicious and unique. A very creative menu. We had two delicious desserts celebrating our friends birthdays. The service was impeccable. We loved our waiter the entire wait staff is so well trained and friendly. Starting with the guy we checked in with when we arrived. We can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "The food in one word is "incredible"! I went with a friend. I'm not really fond of the community tables... especially because we'd not seen each other in 5 years and had some seriously personal catching up to do. But that aside the food was awesome! 1st round we got the pork bun and it was delicious! The pork belly was crispy and tasty. 2nd round we duck breast & the Wagu hangar steak. The steak was so good that we ordered another! For dessert we had the camp which was fun, but the toffee sticky bun was so awesome! It came with the most amazing salted vanilla whipped cream. 1 bite if that and the angels sang! I can't wait to go back! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that you can bring your own wine and they don't even charge a corkage fee!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Chef Jason always provides an exciting culinary experience. We have enjoyed so many "perfect bites" here. Food is always fresh and passionate in preparation and presentation . This particular evening we enjoyed the minted cauliflower appetizer, the heirloom tomato salad , the BLT Ramen , the roasted duck breast w baby kale,plumcot and brown butter farro salad,and also the Wagyu hangar steak YUM! Beer list is extensive, wine choices are interesting,well paired for the menu and very fairly priced by the bottle. We come here with open minds and palettes and are never disappointed."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "My husband and I were celebrating our 38 wedding anniversary. I did not realize there were communal tables but we were ok with that. We were seated and brought our own special bottle of wine...free corkage!! We ordered the mint spicy cauliflower which was delicious. I do not eat any meat so my poor hubby was at my mercy when we were sharing dishes. We also had the heirloom tomato salad with burrata which was also incredible. My hubby had Uncle Lew's fried chicken which he really liked. They sat a young couple next to use struck up a conversation and had a lovely time sharing our wines.They gave us a free dessert for our anniversary we enjoyed. Can't wait to go back with friends!"
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "Never a let down amid the multiple dishes our little table ordered. Wait staff was super focused on our comfort. Kudos to all! I can't wait to try Sunday Dinner!"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Hands down the best place in Orange County right now for creative cuisine! These small plates are little flavor bombs that explode simultaneously with nuance and power. Great deference to the core ingredient in each dish with a subtle use of complimentary ingredients to really make each dish pop. Kudos to Jason and his crew for consistently keeping their menu fresh and the food simply exceptional."
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "Always such impeccable service from a very friendly staff. Food never disappoints and love having a new selection each time I visit.. Ramen is always a must and the scrambled egg with shaved truffle over toast app is a wonderful addition."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Reservations fill up fast and they have a strict rule about substitution but you know it works. As long as I'm told up front about it which you are then this should be a "no issue". Out of the dishes we ordered 0 were sent back. The staff was very friendly and the food was delicious. This was my 2nd time coming here but I'll def be back for more."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Playground is unbeatably my favorite restaurant. From the pork belly sliders (which are a must order each visit) to the toffee fig pudding, you will be forced to make endless room in your stomach with hopes of tasting more. This place is a gem and I leave each time counting down to my next visit."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Very casual place, excellent food at a reasonable price. We loved & finished every plate our waitress recommended."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "One of the best meals I've ever had. The food was delicious, the service was great, and the prices reasonable. I know their menu changes often, but you if you see the pork belly steam bun make sure you order a couple!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "We went for our anniversary based on a friend's recommendation. We couldn't have been happier! The food was amazing, the service great and the whole evening a pleasure!"
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "Wonderful, unusual food. Great dining experience for the adventurous."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Everything was great! I loved the food! I loved the service! There are no corkage fees on Wednesdays!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Made a reservation for 4 for Sunday lunch. Got a call on Wed. asking for a credit card. I was in the meeting, cannot do it. They warn me if I don’t give them a credit card by Friday, reservation will be canceled. I called back next day, had answering machine on, left message. They call me again on Thur. Gave them an AMX. Nope, they do not take AMX. Luckily I still have a VISA. By now, I lost all my appetite. But still stuck it out to see if all these hassle was worth it. We arrived on time, it’s 60% empty, no line out the door, no waiting. What’s with the credit card res? The food was good, the service was good, but NOT that good to worth the hassle for 4 people, casual lunch. I think all the good reviews are making them too arrogant."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Fantastic food and drink from a team that is clearly passionate about making fantastic food and drink!"
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "This is dining like I have never done before. Every item we ordered was a unique interesting blend of flavors...ordering new items could become an addiction because you feel like you can't leave before trying everything before the menu changes! I can't wait to return."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "Best service in Southern California with amazing fare at a happening location - a real gem hidden in Santa Ana. Cannot wait to come again and bring friends!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "This venue was highly recommended by many people, but ultimately this experiment in food while unique and a good value for the portions did not satisfy. Having been to several outstanding restaurants, we were disappointed with the flavors. In addition, the service was good, but not outstanding. It was our anniversary and we didn't get any love from our server. The employees seemed more interested in keeping this popular venue moving with demand rather than truly serving their patrons. We don't plan to return any time soon, but we probably will some day though. Maybe we are just too old. Or maybe we should have gone somewhere less experimental for our anniversary. It's more of an adventure than fine dining experience."
    Dined on 6/5/2014